Employers demand that sick leave be paid for 15 days instead of 30 days

Photo: Free Press / Dragan Mitreski

From 30 to a maximum of 15 days, textile and leather companies demand that the number of days paid for sick leave, which are borne by employers, be reduced. Angel Dimitrov, president of the Association that represents the interests of these two sectors, told "Sloboden pechat" that they receive more and more complaints from employers about abuse of sick leave and that this phenomenon is more common in the summer period. According to Dimitrov, it is fair to say that false sick leave is not only a phenomenon of the private sector.

- They go abroad, work in the fields, and after a month, they take a break for a day or two, until the family doctors open a new sick leave with a new diagnosis. Work in these two sectors is bound by deadlines. In the private sector, you are not in a position to have several employees at one workplace, but each workplace is planned so that the absence of one employee is felt by both the employer and colleagues. We cannot know how long the sick leave will last, we want to finish the work on time, and moreover, we cannot find new workers overnight - says Dimitrov.

He reveals that in the new Law on Labor Relations, this problem is treated separately, but he is skeptical if the Health Fund has enough time and employees to complete the controls in real time.

– Will it be possible to control all illnesses? Some are opened, others are closed. We need the abuse to be revealed immediately, not three months later. That is why we are asking for the shortening of the sick days that are borne by us, i.e. instead of 30 to 15 days - explains Dimitrov.

Not only employers, but also citizens have such stories about "chronically" ill colleagues, and hence they are advocating that the money paid out by the Fund for sick leave exceeding one month (and where there are undoubtedly false sick days) be used for higher participation for certain medicines for chronic diseases and for some operations abroad.

- I had colleagues who were sick for months, but during that time they were not ashamed to put their pictures on social networks - citizens write on social networks, and even discover that while they are on sick leave, their colleagues have stalls in the markets, play music and sing. after weddings etc.

In Macedonia, the Health Insurance Fund has no data on abuses by citizens in relation to sick leave, but there is information on the omissions of doctors that are of an administrative nature. Last year, part of the media reported that FZORSM has no data on abuses of sick leave made by citizens. According to FZORSM data from 2021, there were 3.044 requests for sick leave up to 30 days.

Detectives are also hired for "fake" patients

Due to the frequent occurrence of false illnesses, as well as the fact that this phenomenon is difficult to prove, some bosses decide to start a private investigation. Thus, a detective agency on its website offers, among other things, a check on abuses of paid sick leave.

- Investigations of cases of suspicion regarding the abuse of paid sick leave show a large percentage of sick leave being used for some other reasons that had nothing to do with the health condition, leaving or leaving the place of residence (vacation, travel); performance of another profitable job (work on the black market or in another competing company), hence many companies faced an increase in the number of employees who take sick leave more often. The number of false illnesses has increased, which is confirmed by many years of experience. The detective agency offers services for performing checks and detecting possible abuses of false sick leave. After completing the surveillance of the person who takes a false sick leave, the service provider receives a report and based on the collected knowledge and evidence, the service provider can use them in further proceedings - it is stated on the website of a Skopje detective agency.

About 15 percent of sick leave in Serbia was unfounded

Svetlana Budimcevic from the Union of Employers of Serbia, in a conversation with H1, said that the estimate of the Republic Institute for Health Insurance is that about 40.000 people abused sick leave. Budimcevic said that they receive complaints from employers that the problem of false sick leave is often noticed and that this practice is more common in the summer period when seasonal work is done. As she explained, it happens both in the private and in the state sector and according to her 40.000 false sick leave is a very large number in these times, which is a serious situation. By the way, according to Serbian law, dismissal is foreseen due to abuse of sick leave, said Budimcevic.

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